Report faults response of Wash. nursing home where dozens died of coronavirus

KIRKLAND, Wash. (KOMO/CNN) - Family members with loved ones still at the Kirkland Life Care Center call the new findings “horrifying.” Now the center is on the clock.

More failings were found in the Life Care Center’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Health investigators gave the facility 18 days to get it together. Otherwise they’ll pull federal aid.

Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent two-dozen health clinicians and found Life Care Center failed to rapidly identify and manage sick residents, failed to notify the Department of Health about their respiratory outbreak in February and failed to have a back-up clinician when their primary doctor got sick.

Bridget Parkhill and her sister read the report before visiting their mom Susan, whose tested positive for COVID-19.

“It all rolls downhill. If you don’t have a doctor directing your (physician assistants), directing your (registered nurses), directing your nursing assistants, it all falls apart, and it did,” Parkhill said.

According to the county, at least 37 people with ties to Life Care Centers have died with the virus.

The findings come on the heels of a report last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found staff worked with COVID-19 symptoms, and then many worked in other nursing homes across the region.

The CDC found staff weren’t following proper gloves and goggles precautions, there was an inadequate supply of personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer and the center saw a delay in recognizing COVID-19 cases.

The center did not respond to questions Tuesday, but said last week they recognize their shortcomings and stressed this outbreak and this virus is uncharted territory for any nursing home to handle.

The health investigators said they hope their report sounds the alarm for other nursing homes.

Parkhill said she hopes the same: “This should be a big lesson for not just Life Care Center of America, because they have 199 other nursing homes, but all nursing homes, all care facilities, that they need to have emergency action plans.”

In the next 18 days, the health investigators will make an unannounced visit to Life Care Center, they said in their report, and they want to see a plan to change these “urgent problems.”

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